Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch, our 2017 Award of Distinction recipient, with former Council Chair Katherine Kane and AASLH President and CEO John Dichtl.

AASLH is proud to announce the winners of the 75th annual Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. This year, AASLH is proud to confer fifty-nine national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications.

“Each year, the Leadership in History Awards recognize the most inspiring, engaging, and thought-provoking work in our field,” said Christy Crisp, AASLH National Awards Chair and Director of Programs at the Georgia Historical Society. “By acknowledging this work, undertaken by organizations of all sizes—from all-volunteer to multi-million dollar budgets—we not only celebrate the important work of our colleagues, we better understand the responsibility that we all have to continually work to meet the needs of our communities through the development of relevant and meaningful programs, exhibits, publications, and other projects.”

The Leadership in History Awards Program was initiated in 1945 to build standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout America. Each nomination is peer-reviewed by AASLH’s state captains. Final awards are decided by the Awards Committee, comprised of AASLH’s fourteen regional representatives and the National Awards Chair.

The awards include:

  • The Award of Excellence which is presented for excellence in history programs, projects, and people when compared with similar activities nationwide.
  • The Albert B. Corey Award is named in honor of a founder and former president of AASLH, and recognizes primarily volunteer-operated historical organizations that best display the qualities of vigor, scholarship, and imagination in their work. The 2019 recipient is the Vail Preservation Society in Vail, AZ.
  • The HIP (History in Progress) Award is given at the discretion of the awards committee to 5% or less of the total winners of the Award of Excellence. It is for a project that is highly inspirational, exhibits exceptional scholarship, and/or is exceedingly entrepreneurial in terms of funding, partnerships, or collaborations, creative problem solving, or unusual project design and inclusiveness. There were three recipients in 2020:
    • Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site for the public program Hidden Lives Illuminated
    • Coastal Carolina University and the Horry County Museum for the exhibit Printing the Past: SC in 3D
    • Guadalupe Centers, University of Missouri-Kansas City History Department, University of Missouri-Kansas City Latinx & Latin American Studies, Tico Productions, and Kansas City Public Library for the special project Kansas City’s Guadalupe Centers: A Century of Serving the Latino Community

A full listing of recipients can be viewed below. For more information, contact Bethany Hawkins at hawkins@aaslh.org.

2020 Leadership in History Award winners by state


Learn more about the Leadership in History Awards here.